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States of Play: Eric Atie is a Fan of Life

Sammy 'Sage' Hassan

Eric Atie is a fan of life. His strident images do not lie. His lenses seem to seek out and frame life in a state of exuberance. There is a bounce to how he captures the light and projects the images of the people in his pictures as they exert themselves in the business of living and play, the stilled excitement of an artist lovingly amused by his subjects.


Eric Atie is a fan of life. As we all should be. Invested in transforming the not so simple magic of existence into immortality in clicks and shutters. In Eric Atie’s sight, the surrealism of the everyday seems apparent. The images here celebrate youth, life, innocence, fun and exuberance. Their stark tones are colored in to reveal Mr. Atie’s aesthetic vision, with a hue reminiscent of the glory days of black and white photographs, overlayed with postmodern aestheticism - the meeting of art and technology fired by a zesty imagination.


The hide and seek game between the photographer and the peeking student hiding partially in a doorway capture the intimate details of the subject and larger surrounding - kids hovering between the classroom and field of play. In one omnivisual moment, and one suspects the photographer has an archive of these, we see the hope, the play, the excitement, the subdued energy, and the curiosity of both the artist and his subject.


It is only in photography or cinematography that both the visualizer and envisioned mirror ideals and ideas in the making of art. It’s a game of I see you and yeah, I see you too. Except when I see you not.


The kids at play with boxing kits may only be aware of the replica of pugilism that they are simulating. The spectators stand in a daze. Fully engrossed in the spectacle of kids in an otherwise adult sport. The light cast over them carries a nouveau sheen that signature’s Mr. Atie’s inventiveness.


The five aside game which ordinarily would have been caught in play is seen in a state of respite. Like the players are waiting to carry on. Unaware of the artist or of the present shot. He tones the color down as if to draw attention to the seeming inertia in an otherwise fast paced activity, the in-betweens of rest that keep us alive.


The skateboard in your face demands attention in the quality of one accustomed to receiving it – its graphically exaggerated frame accentuating sturdy old bolts celebrating the ancient ritual of play that define human interaction and expression. 


The cliché is true. Don’t take life too seriously. Except at play. So, throw the jab, peek-a-boo, find your team, and be ready to roll down the road that stretches roughly ahead.



Images by Eric Atie, with introduction by Sammy 'Sage' Hassan


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